The first time I made Spicy Peanut Sauce, I jotted a quick note in the margin for next time: double this. And I come to the same conclusion each time I make it. Peanut Sauce is addictive.
I have served variations of this for years, and whether served to vegans or non-vegans, I am always asked to share the recipe.
Thai cuisine often combines multiple distinct flavors of sweet, salty, sour and varying levels of heat, and the complex balance has to be just right to create that perfectly harmonious finish.
One of my longtime favorites was a Spicy Peanut Sauce recipe from Vegan Fire and Spice, written by Robin Robertson. Earlier this year, I discovered Mary McDougall’s recipe from The Starch Solution for Thai-Style Noodles that appealed to me right away because it was just a little bit lighter. Long story short – I was inspired to create my own version.
This Spicy Peanut Sauce is wonderful heated gently, and served over the stir-fried vegetables you like best, along with your choice of noodles. I have used udon noodles, whole wheat linguine, and rice pasta, each with great success. Thai Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce works its magic with plenty of flexible applications. From sweet onions, baby kale, and snow peas — to baby bok choy, red bell peppers, edamame and bean sprouts, I haven’t found any combination that is not thoroughly delicious.
My personal hands down favorite is Spicy Peanut Sauce served over tons of steaming hot broccoli, along with celery for crunch and skillet-crisped tofu.
In the interests of full disclosure, not everyone in our non-vegan family enjoys tofu yet, and I say “yet” because I do believe tofu is an acquired taste. However, I find that baked tofu and its crispy stir-fried cousin might be among the easiest of introductions for the uninitiated. With these methods I have converted several non-believers. But if you are not convinced, just leave it out.
Honestly, with tofu or without, this dish is a winner. Served hot, Thai Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce is impressive enough for company, yet easy enough to create during the week. At room temperature, it brings raves at a potluck or tailgate party.
As an aside, this Spicy Peanut Sauce works beautifully when you swap out the noodles entirely, and serve over bowls of steaming hot brown rice instead.
Plus your Spicy Peanut Sauce creation will make an enviable addition to a lunchbox the next day, so keep your fingers crossed, and you might just manage to have enough for leftovers too.
THAI NOODLES WITH SPICY PEANUT SAUCE
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce
Freshly cooked udon noodles, whole wheat linguine, or rice pasta
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 pound of extra firm or baked tofu, cut in small cubes
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon of white wine
1 teaspoon agave nectar
I large head of broccoli, cut into 1-inch flowerets *
1 cup sliced celery *
* Note: Feel free to substitute any combination of vegetables you prefer, including diced sweet onions, red bell peppers, snow peas, shreds of baby kale, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and edamame, totaling approximately 5 or 6 cups.
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
To make the sauce, in a small bowl, covered jar, or food processor, combine all ingredients and mix until well blended. Set aside.
To make the noodles, drop them into large pot of boiling salted water, and cook until tender. Drain well, place on serving platter, and set aside.
To prepare the vegetables and tofu, heat the vegetable broth in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu, garlic, and ginger, and cook for five minutes. Add the soy sauce, wine, and agave to the tofu, and continue cooking until golden brown. Add the vegetables and cook until just tender-crisp.
To prepare for serving, turn off the heat, and add the prepared peanut sauce to the pan. Toss gently until coated evenly, and just heated through. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the noodles on the large serving platter. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately or at room temperature.